African Parks (AP), a private firm managing three of the country’s wildlife reserves under the public private partnership (PPP)arrangement, has fenced about half of the perimeter of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve park manager Samuel Kamoto said on Thursday during a tour around the reserve, that fencing with an electric barrier reduces conflicts between animals and surrounding villages.
He said it cost the organisation over $3million (over K2.2 billion) to fence part of the reserve which now covers 200 kilometres.
“We expect to complete the fencing in the next two years since the fencing project has two more phases to go. This will, therefore, protect the animals and reduce breakouts,” Kamoto said.
He asked community members who reside and farm close to the reserve to consider relocating saying wild animals like elephants easily get carried away by fruits and other crops cultivated around the areas.
Currently, Nkhokakota Wildlife Reserve has about 600 elephants but the reserve can accommodate up to 1 500 elephants, according to Kamoto.
Kasungu district commissioner James Kanyangalazi, who was part of the tour, applauded AP for incorporating programmes that benefit the youth and families in the communities.
“So far, they have employed people around the communities, they are constructing school blocks, roads and boreholes. They are also supporting secondary school learners’ education through payment of fees among others,” he said.
Apart from elephants, the reserve has warthogs, bushbucks, waterbucks, buffalos and zebras. n